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Profiles Interviews

Journalist Gay Talese

Owen Johnson hosts this interview with Gay Talese, one of the founders of the “New Journalism.”

Gay Talese in a three-piece suit and fedora

Photo: Courtesy of Indiana University

Gay Talese

When I do research I don’t want to get it from the Internet . . . but I insist on seeing the person, being with the person I’m writing about. I want to have access not only to what I hear from their mouth, but how they conduct themselves, and what they look like, and how they behave in impromptu situations when there’s something happening.

Gay Talese has written eleven books. His earlier bestsellers deal with the history and influence of the New York Times (The Kingdom and the Power); the inside story of a Mafia family (Honor Thy Father); and the changing moral values of America after World War II (Thy Neighbor’s Wife).

He was a reporter for the New York Times from 1956 to 1965, and since then he has written for The New Yorker, Harper’s, and other national publications, and he is considered one of the founders of an inventive form of nonfiction writing called the “New Journalism.”

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